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November 9 2015

What If Bears Killed Only One in Five People?

Charlotte Hays

A PSA entitled "What If Bears Killed One in Five People?" has been released to coincide with the second conference on campus sexual assault being put on by the White House's "It's on Us" campaign and a group called Generation Progress.

The PSA, created by the misnamed group College Humor,  features a bunch of stereotypical college guys, who are hanging out. There is a bear in the adjacent room. But one of the guys argues that it is no big deal because bears kill only one in five people.

It is of course a reference to the White House-promoted figure that one in five women on college campuses is the victim of sexual assault. Huffington Post describes the PSA this way:

One of the men, played by Jake Johnson, repeatedly tries to dismiss his friends' concern about the bear by shouting lines similar to what some might say to dismiss the issue of sexual violence in college.

"But you know, it's not going to eat all of us, it's only going to eat like one in five," he says. 

"You guys know the old saying, bears will be bears!" Johnson later adds, trying to calm down his friends. 

"That's not a saying!" Lamorne Morris, who also appears in the PSA, says in response.

"What happened between you guys and the bear is none of my business," Johnson responds a moment later.

"I feel dumber for having watched this video," Chicks on the Right opines.  

Aside from not being very funny (you can watch it here), the PSA gets it wrong: it pretends that people dismiss the one-in-five number because they are callous about sexual assault. That is not true. Any incident of sexual assault is heinous and of the utmost importance. We want prosecution and severe penalties for this crime.

What is questioned is the accuracy of the one-in-five number, not the seriousness of the sexual assault of women. So this PSA, by implication, mocks people who have reservations about a statistic and turns them into people who don't think sexual assault is a big deal. It could not be more unfair (or less humorous).

The one-in-five statistic has repeatedly been debunked. It was originally derived from an online survey in which the answers were interpreted in such a way as to get the numbers as high as possible. Using inflated statistics doesn't show a concern for women and it is not the way to deal with the serious problem of campus assault. You can see the Factual Feminist's debunking of this bogus statistic here.    



Independent Women's Forum is an educational 501(c)(3) dedicated to developing and advancing policies that aren’t just well intended, but actually enhance people’s freedom, choices, and opportunities. IWF is the sister organization of the Independent Women’s Voice.​
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